Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Georgia Again

On March 18 I flew with the kids to Georgia so that we could be there when Seth received his temple endowment.  Entering the temple for the first time is a very big deal in our church, and being there together as a family has been a goal for us since my siblings and I were kids.  The chance to all be together again after only four months apart was also a huge enticement.
Anni and Maren drove to Georgia with Cheyenne and her boys after they helped Anni and Ryan move into their new house.  They were only there for a few days before I flew out with my kids.  Todd was busy at work, but planned to fly in for the weekend, and would be there for the actual temple trip.  Ryan had a similar arrangement.
Our four and a half hour flight went by really fast, in spite of Jared tracking the flight on his monitor and announcing the time remaining in the flight at the top of his lungs every five minutes for the entire flight.  "Only three and a half hours until we get to Atlanta!"  At one point, B fell asleep on my lap, and then Eloise announced that she needed to use the bathroom.  With some trepidation, I sent Jared to take Eloise to the bathroom ten rows away.  I was a little bit worried that she would come out of the bathroom with her pants around her ankles, or that they would come out of the bathroom and forget which direction to go, but they figured it out.  Jared came bounding back to me a few minutes later to give me a play by play of the entire experience.  It took me a minute to get a word in edgewise so that I could ask him to go back and collect his sister who was standing outside the bathroom disoriented.
We only almost lost Eloise twice; once on the airport train when she decided to sprint for the exit at the first stop, and once after the plane landed, when she decided to disembark before I was done collecting our belongings.  We actually lost her zero times, so it was a successful trip.  Andrew and Aaron picked us up at the airport, and the two and a half hour drive to their house felt about twice as long as the flight.  We had to make no less than three potty stops, and we also had to stop for dinner.
We stayed at Ms. Grace and Papa's house, Andrew's grandparents.  They were amazing hosts.  They were very gracious about pretending not to hear the kids cry at night.  The jet lag was not as bad as I expected it to be (my expectations were very low), but none of us got quite enough sleep all week all the same.
Eloise and Jared were excited about this trip because their last trip to Georgia is so clear in their memories.  They were excited to put pennies on the railroad tracks, swing in Aaron's swings, and get eggs from the chicken coop at Ms. Gaye and Mr. Terry's (Andrew's parents') house.
We had a couple of railroad track excursions.  These are very active train tracks, so Anni and I were a little hesitant about herding all six children up and down the tracks.  Cheyenne assured us that no trains have ever come along while she was walking on the tracks with her boys.  Weren't we fortunate to be the first?  Actually, we weren't quite to the tracks when the train came.  This was quite close enough for us to continue to be uncomfortable.  Seth hung onto those boys tight while the train went by.
We looked for old smashed pennies, threw rocks in puddles, and got nice and dirty.
 My kids love that Aaron lives on a dirt road.  When he visits us, our "hard road" is a novelty to him.  Eloise wants to sit in the road and make sand castles all day.
 Does Jared look hot, or what?  I don't think it got much over 70 degrees all week.  His heat tolerance is low.  His tolerance for Georgia vermin is also low.  Before we arrived, Maren got her foot caught in a cinder block with a fire ant hill inside.  She was pretty badly bitten.  Jared heard about this and suddenly became afraid of every small mound of dirt of any size.  He was also afraid of the bees that could be heard everywhere, but rarely seen.  Spring has a lot of flowers that need to be pollinated.
 Eloise says Georgia pine cones are HUGE!
 Poor Maren got an ear infection before we got to Georgia, had a run in with fire ants, and got attacked by a rooster when the kids were playing at Ms. Grace and Mr. Terry's house.  She got scratches all over her arms.  A stomach bug started to get passed around while we were there, too.  Fortunately the Knights avoided it, but nearly everyone else caught it. I love these cute, classy kids with their fingers in their noses as they watch "Dinosaur Train."
 Cheyenne took us on an outing to a nearby state park that has alligators.  We didn't see any.  After we had a picnic, played on the playground, and spent ages on this dock, everyone was too tired for much of an alligator hunt hike.
 Eloise was convinced that this dock was a boat.  The wind on the water lent itself to the illusion of movement.  She was convinced that she was on her way to an island on the other side, which, it turns out, was no island at all, but the shore on the other side of the lake.  She spent most of her time at the park running back and forth along this dock to pick up gravel to throw into the lake.
 Here we are about to leave on our hike.  Clearly we are already tired.  B even has his pacifier (which he has recently started calling "pappy").
 We all had fun on the playground, except for Jared, because he saw an ant.
 Cheyenne warned Aaron not to pick up the Spanish moss from the ground because it holds burrowing red bugs.  Jared did not like this at all.  Todd and Jared are united in their belief that Georgia has more bugs than should be permitted anywhere ever.
 This is what Cheyenne does when she finds herself without a baby carrier.  The blanket sling would have worked out better if it weren't so hot with a fleece blanket wrapped around her and the baby.
 B loved Georgia.  The grass was dry enough to crawl on, unless it was actively raining.  There were cousins to play with him, lots of new toys, and just basically everything that makes him happy in life, except Daddy.  He has expanded the use of his word "Daddy" to include nearly every adult, though, so he may have been a little confused.
Our gentle dog has not taught B to be appropriately wary of animals.  He got scratched on his wrist when he attempted to befriend Aaron's cat, Sharps, by poking it in the eye.
 Here are some more pictures of cousin fun.  McKay showed up without a jacket when Faith and I were watching him one day, so he wore B's.  They look a lot alike, I think.
 All three of my children fell off of this merry go round.  B got thrown off when it started moving unexpectedly.  Jared and Eloise both attempted to get off while it was moving without announcing their intentions.  Jared flattered Aunt Faith after she got on while Anni was riding.  He started pushing it around and announced, "It is even easier to push with TWO grown ups!"
 I think we should get a trampoline.  Trampolines equal happiness.
 B loves buttons.  I love the look of concentration on his face, and his fat little fingers pointing at the buttons.
 By Friday afternoon, Eloise had decided to fall asleep on the floor every night, to avoid having to sleep in an unfamiliar bed.  I am glad she decided on sleeping at all.  All of the back and forth at bedtime was exhausting.  Faith was staying with me at Ms. Grace and Papa's, Anni, Maren, and Grandma Jill were staying at Ms. Gaye and Mr. Terry's, and B was getting super congested.  I asked Andrew and Mr. Terry to give him a blessing, because I was worried that all of the sleep disruption would lower his immunity and make him vulnerable to an ear infection.  At Thanksgiving, with similar conditions, we spent the last day of our trip in urgent care.  After B's blessing we went to bed to get ready for an early morning driving the two and a half hours to the temple in Atlanta.  When I woke up the next morning, it was actually morning!  All three of the kids had slept through the night!  It was an absolute miracle.  Such a thing hardly ever happens at home, and in the less than ideal conditions of an unfamiliar house, an oncoming cold, and lingering jet lag, it is impossible.  I knew right away that the night's sleep was a miracle, and a gift of divine grace to make our special temple day better.

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